I am an absolute Angry Birds fan, I am. Ever since I got acquainted with this bunch of furious birds bent on smashing their piggy enemies, there was no turning back. I was bent on perfecting my slingshots – I practised day and night. I’ve got them downloaded in my iPhone and iPads and it drove my family members nuts as I repeated my efforts constantly, trying to score 3 stars for every game! I’ve played them all… Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio… and I await with bated breath for every new update …
Look, I even have an Angry Bird pillow and a similar one stuck in my car, too…!!!
So, can you imagine my delight when I received an invitation from Cake Connection to attend an Angry Birds Cupcakes class?! I replied YES even before you can say “hooray”… and Shyamala of Cake Connection can testify to that, I’m sure.
When I arrived at Cake Connection, my attention, and everyone else’s too, was riveted to the tray of beautiful Angry Birds on display there. Joining the others, I was soon busy snapping snapping snapping away! Each Angry Bird, whether in 3D or 2D, was perfectly crafted. Flawless. Clean neat edges, sharp details, vibrant colours, nothing was out of place or smudged or mis-shapened!
For this class, everything has been prepared and laid out nicely and neatly on the worktable for us. This was a special class for bloggers and each one of us was allocated a pack of multi-coloured fondants and the necessary tools were pooled in the centre for sharing.
We were then introduced to Nancy Tan, who’s the instructor for this class. She’s such a good teacher… her clear instructions and patient guidance made all the difference. She explained what fondant is all about and the difference between this and gumpaste. She taught us how to knead and fold the fondant till it’s smooth and pliant for shaping. We also got lots of tips on how best to flavour and colour the fondant and gumpaste. For a fondant novice like me, Nancy’s tutelage was extremely helpful. Chocolate cupcakes were pre-baked and ready for our use and we were taught how to apply buttercream on them before placing the fondant over them.
Nancy started off with the easier 2Ds. Well, they’re not exactly very easy but they’re definitely lots easier than the 3D figurines we did later! While the “faces” were in 2D, the beaks and “lips” were actually in 3D and we stuck them onto the “faces” using edible gum.
Of course, the challenge lies in making the 3Ds Angry Birds. Nancy made it look so easy when she demonstrated them. Her deft fingers kneaded, pleated and shaped the fondant effortlessly into the desired shapes – I think she can even do it with eyes closed!
In comparison, when I did my first Angry Bird, it was an almost-disaster. It looked darn easy when Nancy did it! Don’t peer too closely at the photos because if you do, you will notice the clumsy handiwork, the discolouration, the smudges, the gum drips etc etc! The meticulous detailing is amazing – we learned how to layer different coloured fondants to achieve a more realistic look for the beak and tongue, for example. Oh, and don’t forget, the Angry Birds have to have feathers and tails too! No matter how many times I tried, I couldn’t quite get my birds’ tails to look like those done by Nancy (ppfffttt!), much to my dismay and frustration! Somehow, my birds’ tails turned out to look like rounded stumps.
I must remember to wash my hands after using strong-coloured fondant, especially if I am to switch to a paler colour next. While I was shaping the red Angry Bird, my fingers were a bit stained and the next thing I rolled was white fondant for the whites of eyes and guess what, my bird ended up with some kinda conjunctivitis in its eyes, haha! The white fondant had been slightly stained in red! And talking about eyes, do you know it’s really hard to roll out equal-sized tiny pupils for the eyes (size of sesame seeds or smaller)?? It’s easier to equalise sizes if you use bigger portions but imagine rolling out equal sized tiny tiny beads!
My green piggy, which somehow didn’t look quite so evil…
My favourite yellow bird…
Do not be heavy-handed with the edible gum… I learned that after having gum drips smeared on my red bird. One really has to have light deft touches because the slightest pressure will cause dents on the fondant in places where you don’t want indentations! Another thing is – keep those fingernails short! I realise I would have to sacrifice my nails if I want to improve and perfect my fondant-moulding skills because long nails get in the way!
Finally, after almost 4 hours, we completed our 6 Angry Birds cupcakes. No mean feat, huh? Is it any wonder then that cakes with fondant/gumpaste figurines are costly? It’s all about skills and tedious work… and backache! It’s a well-spent 4 hours, though because I really learned a lot about fondant-modelling. For those with busy schedules, there are online cooking schools offering classes that teach the art of fondant sculpting.
We were all so engrossed with our birds that we could go without rest, water or food for 4 hours… and I guess we all have some kinda “perfectionistic” streaks in us. That’s what Nancy remarked too… that most people who take up fondant/gumpaste figurine work are perfectionists! They must be very patient perfectionists, too.
Cake Connection conducts all kinds of cake classes. Taking a look round their studio, I was impressed by the array of beautiful cake decorations and figurines they teach…
Do visit their website for more information on their classes. It’s the year-end festive season, perhaps you’d like to learn some baking or touch up your skills? They have lots of cool baking stuff too – truly, for all your baking and cake decorating needs!
I thoroughly enjoyed this class as not only did I get to learn about fondant/gumpaste modelling, I also had the opportunity to meet some bloggers who are the ultimate Kitchen Goddesses! They are Veronica Davis of Quay Po Cooks, Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover, Zurin of Cherry On A Cake, Joslynn of Petite Nyonya, Tomoko of Caramel Factory and Ivy of My Story. Do check out their sites and posts on this event for their stories.
Block D-11-1, Jaya One
72A Jalan Universiti
46200 Petaling Jaya